Juneau's unemployment rate makes seasonal climb

City remains well below statewide and regional jobless rates

Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Juneau's unemployment rate climbed to 5.7 percent in September, with more than 1,000 residents unemployed, as employment in seasonal industries such at fishing and tourism dropped off.

However, the local unemployment rate remained well below the statewide and national unemployment rates, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Juneau's 5.7 percent unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was up from 5.2 percent in August and 4.4 percent in September last year.

That meant an estimated 1,070 Juneau residents were unemployed in September, compared to 823 a year ago.

Juneau's unemployment rate, despite the increase, was the lowest in Southeast Alaska, which had a regional rate of 6.7 percent. Sitka was 5.9 percent, Ketchikan was 6.1 percent and Haines was 6.2 percent. The highest rate in Southeast was on Prince of Wales at 13.8 percent, with the Wrangell-Petersburg area at 9.8 percent.

The statewide non-seasonally adjusted rate was 7.7 percent, with Anchorage just below that at 7.4 percent.

State economists said the number of jobs in Alaska declined by 8,600 during the month. That's "fairly typical" for an end-of-summer decline, according to State Economist Dan Robinson.

The number of jobs in Alaska in September was 2,000 fewer than in September 2008, however.

The biggest job losses statewide came in manufacturing, all of which were in seafood processing where there was a decline of 4,700 jobs at the end of the season.

Leisure and hospitality services declined by an additional 3,600 jobs.

The only industry sector showing growth was health care, up 1,000 jobs over the year, while oil and gas has a decline of 300 jobs after years of growth.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgeyat 523-2250 or e-mail patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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